See here for Part 1- Baking.

The #1 reason people are scared of making gingerbread houses?  I think it's ASSEMBLING the pieces.  Most people use frosting to hold the pieces together.  That's aggravating; the frosting doesn't hold well and the pieces have to be propped up for hours before they'll really bond.  Who has time for that?

Here's what my mom taught us- use Edible Hot Glue- melted sugar.  Caramel, they call it in the cooking world.  Take about 1/2 cup granulated sugar, put it in a heavy saucepan (big enough to dip your gingerbread pieces in) over medium-high heat, and watch as it starts to melt.  (It's actually decomposing, scientists just learned this year!) Do NOT walk away from the pan during this time!!! You'll need to stir a little of the unmelted sugar into the liquid part; keep it moving a bit so it doesn't scorch.   Turn down heat as needed.  If it cooks too much, it turns black and bitter-tasting. 

Once it's completely melted, turn the heat down to low; you want it to stay hot enough to be liquid, but low enough it won't burn. 

Get both pieces ready that you want to bond.  Dip the edge of one into the hot sugar.  Be very, very careful to not get any on yourself- this is way hotter than boiling, though it doesn't look it.  Think hot glue on steroids. 
Put the two pieces together immediately, and set them up on a flat surface.  You'll have about ten seconds to get the fit right before this 'glue' sets up. 

This even works to connect broken pieces.  Somebody bumped the cooling rack and knocked most of the gingerbread to the floor.  Several broke. 

No problem.

This is where the frosting comes in handy- to make your decorations stick!  I also like to cover the places the sugar glue shows.  For more ideas on what you can use for decorating, see my three-page handout on making gingerbread houses.

One done.  This one was actually a kit, though I used the Hot Sugar Glue to stick it together.

We make a bunch of little houses every year; each child gets to decorate his/her own.  Some years we've just made and decorated a house FRONT- a large, house-shaped, FLAT cookie.  Not 3-D.

 Part of the tradition is that we eat our houses on New Years' Eve, though somehow there's always candy missing off them by then!

Have fun! 


12/08/2012 02:46

Yea! I used the recipe and your pointers and tweaked to be wheat free dairy free, and it turned out so well! Thanks for the extra tips!


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